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Psalm 31 – A Meditation

Last Sunday the appointed psalm was Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
     let me never be put to shame;
     in your righteousness deliver me!

Incline your ear to me;
     rescue me speedily!

Be a rock of refuge for me,
     a strong fortress to save me!

For you are my rock and my fortress;
     and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;

you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!

Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!

During these times in which we are living, these words of David may resonate deeply within your being. I don’t know about you, but I am weary of this. I am weary of the disconnection I have from people I love.

I am weary of my daily travel plans consisting of moving from my study to the living room to the kitchen and back. I am weary of being home rather than out among the people I love and serve. I am weary of the disregard others have for the recommendations from health care experts that are intended to keep us all safe. I am weary. And, I’m pretty sure that you are too.

So, where do we go? Where is our refreshment? Pastor Marilyn Crosby offered us a taste of that last week as she considered the abundance that God offers to us, the abundance that Jesus promises, the abundance of the shepherd with whom we shout, “Holy Cow!” I know that all of that is true. And then there are days, those days, when that all seems so far away and all I can do is cry out to God to step in and make it all different.

And sometimes God does make it all different. Sometimes God intervenes with God’s mighty right arm. Sometimes God does swoop in and part the waters storming around us and calm the predicament or situation that is causing us such distress.

Yet, other times God does something a bit different. Sometimes God gives us the opportunity to see that our safety and consolation is in him. We have the challenge of growing in our trust of him, the one who loves us more than we can even imagine.

Trust is a precious commodity, one that is sorely lacking in our society. Rather than trust, we are bombarded with cynicism, skepticism, snark and sarcasm. We dismiss truths that we don’t want to believe. We routinely “kill the messenger” because we don’t like the message. We raise an eyebrow to things that don’t fit our scheme of things.

The Psalm offers us another way. A way nestled in the arms of the lover of our soul. Sometimes when my cat Sadie is a bit fussy, I pick her up and hold her close so that she isn’t frightened or upset. I speak softly to her. But she fusses against me, she stretches out and looks for a way out of my embrace and jumps down to the nearest surface and skitters away to try to fix it on her own. I wish that I could feel her settle into my arms and rest.

David said, “My times are in your hands.” A relinquishment and release. All made possible because of what David knows God to be – a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, a guide, redeemer, the faithful one, a rescuer, one who loves with a steadfast love. In the midst of this pandemic, resting in the arms of God is exactly where I want to be. And that doesn’t happen by accident. There is an element of intentionality on my part to turn to the One who is trustworthy.

Using the words as a guide, I would invite you to write your own Psalm 31. It need not be perfect. It need not be poetic or artistic. Let it simply reflect you and your relationship with God.

Here’s mine:
     Lord, I run to you
     Please don’t let me down.
     You are right in all your ways – save me! Hear me, I pray And come – there’s no time to waste.
     Be my protector. Guide me
     These days are uncertain, Lord Lead me.
     There are traps all around
     Don’t let them ensnare me.
     I trust you Lord with all that I am You have redeemed me – It’s already done.
     All of the details and moments of my life – All these I give to you And place them in your holy hands             Look on me with the love That makes your face shine I know that you will save me.
     I trust you.